Simple sophistication is the hallmark of this look. Start with white dishes and add color with a solid tablecloth. Incorporate clear glass, as well as silver and gold serving pieces, to keep the feeling light.
Don't get fooled into believing that formal pieces are more pricey. A versatile set of plain white dishes can be inexpensive. Or look for bargain styles that are a bit more festive, like these plates, which are adorned with a delicate vine pattern in gold.
If you're using only one goblet at each setting, position it just above the tip of the knife. If you're using both a water and a wine goblet, place the water goblet above the knife and the wineglass above the spoon.
Place a selection on the table to provide light at various heights. Here, the thin tapers and low votives don't block cross-table conversation.
You might be tempted to lay out all your flatware to make the table look more elegant; instead, avoid clutter and omit pieces that won't be used. For instance, lay out the soup spoon only if you're serving a soup course.
Ivory napkins pair well with white dishware and can be used with any color tablecloth.
Use a long, lace cloth that extends to the floor, hiding the legs. Layer a colorful solid on top.
Try this: Wrap the backs of your chairs with coordinating ribbon to pull the look together.